Guest Post: Colin Farquhar, VITEC
One year on from lockdowns imposed in countries around the world and we now face a starkly different world. No one could have predicted the far-reaching impact that the COVID-19 outbreak would have and how phrases such as ‘social distancing’ and ‘lockdown’ would become standard in people’s vocabulary.
But today, vaccination programs continue to roll out around the world – with the US administering 2.5 million doses per day on average and more than half of adults in the UK now having been vaccinated. Yet vigilance is still vital as new variants of the virus are emerging. For those employed in offices and other places of work, there remains a state of flux.
Many businesses have had to shift their world view on digital tools, adding or bolstering digital signage technologies to help them successfully adapt to the current climate.
With a huge proportion of the workforce now operating remotely, it has become essential to allow teams and employees to stay connected. And others find themselves in vastly different work environments, as a considerable number of people in government, public service, logistics, healthcare, finance, public service, the grocery trade, food service and other essential sectors are still required to be on-site in the workplace.
Key workers who have returned to their designated workplaces constantly need detailed information on the latest guidelines on social distancing, sanitization procedures and other safety measures. Such scenarios call for tools that enable better communication, which remains an ongoing process for most organizations as they continually adjust to rapidly evolving circumstances.
As more people are allowed back into offices, IP video-based technologies and facility-wide digital signage will play an increasingly important role in ensuring that vital communications reach people wherever they’re based – especially if they remain spread out, even within offices.
For instance, Thomson Reuters, the world’s leading source of news and information for professionals in the financial services, media and corporate markets, has an IP video system that delivers broadcast-quality TV and video to over 300 displays in conference rooms and lecture theatres, as well as 2,500 screens and desktops around its London headquarters. This enables staff to keep up to speed with the latest news around the world as events, such as critical developments on the coronavirus vaccine programme, unfold in real time – as well as recorded and internal content.
This type of system can also be used to ensure everyone within an organization is kept abreast of the latest safety rules and facilities within the work environment.
In addition to the role IP-based technologies play in the corporate world, they are more valuable than ever to the healthcare sector – especially in the current climate, as the latest news about vaccinations and information on new strains of COVID-19 is of crucial importance.
It is vital that healthcare workers have easy access to training and information about the latest developments relating to the pandemic – everything from guidelines on vaccination deployment and treatment procedures to updates on new variants and the latest safety procedures. IP video technologies can play a significant role in keeping people connected and updated on the situation.
A crucial part of maintaining safe distances in hospitals comes from improving the flow of people around the buildings and indicating how many people are allowed in common areas at any one time. Multiple signage screens deployed throughout a hospital can inform on-site visitors and patients about one-way systems, restricted areas and where people should go for testing, admission or vaccinations. The use of digital signage ultimately helps to minimize unnecessary interactions with staff, helping curb further spread of the virus.
Qatar’s Hamad Medical Corporation, for example, uses an Exterity IPTV system and digital signage technologies to help patients feel connected to the outside world. Deployed throughout the hospital and in individual patient rooms at the specialist Tertiary Communicable Disease Center, the IPTV system facilitates the delivery of 120 live channels and Video on Demand (VOD) channels to inform and support the patients, guests and visitors while they are being treated, waiting or visiting the hospital campus.
The digital signage solution enables the hospital to create, manage and display dynamic communications displays across the site. Signage deployments such as this can be leveraged to inform visitors of the latest COVID-19 protocols, keeping everyone onsite informed and safer.
Despite the ongoing vaccine rollout in many countries making tremendous headway, every sector continues to feel the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic – even in the UK and the US where the vaccination programs have hit large parts of the population. For people with no choice but to go into work, digital signage and IPTV are powerful tools for communication to keep everyone safe and feeling secure.
While COVID measures are still in place in most countries and most US states – at least for the first half of 2021 – businesses can be assured that their employees are connected and engaged through the use of IP video and digital signage technology.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Colin Farquhar is a senior executive with VITEC, a worldwide leader in IP video streaming solutions. Farquhar was previously CEO of Exterity, which was recently acquired by VITEC.